MINNEAPOLIS, MN (July 1, 2022)—The Las Vegas Aces withstood a second-half Minnesota rally, Friday evening, to improve to 15-5 overall, and 9-1 in Commissioner’s Cup play with a 91-85 victory over the Lynx.
First Quarter (Las Vegas 19, Minnesota 13)
The Aces scored the first 6 points of the game and 15 of the first 17, holding the Lynx scoreless through the first 3:15 of play. All five Las Vegas starters scored during the opening run. Minnesota missed 11 of its first 12 shots from the field. The Lynx scored 8 straight late in the period, but a Chelsea Gray jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining ended the run.
Second Quarter (Las Vegas 46, Minnesota 33)
The Lynx sliced the Las Vegas advantage to 2 on 4 occasions, but the Aces scored 13 of the final 15 points of the half to tie their largest lead of the game at 13. Chelsea Gray went a perfect 6 for 6 from the field prior to intermission. The Aces made 59.4 percent of their shots in the half compared to 35.9 percent by Minnesota. Las Vegas turned the ball over 10 time in the first 20 minutes compared to the Lynx who committed 5.
Third Quarter (Las Vegas 69, Minnesota 61)
The Aces extended their lead to 15 early in the period, but the Lynx whittled the advantage down to six, 60-54 with 2:44 remaining in the third. Rachel Banham was perfect from the floor making all 4 of her shots, including all 3 from beyond the arc, for 11 points.
Fourth Quarter (Las Vegas 91, Minnesota 86)
The Lynx scored the first 4 points of the fourth, and 10 of the first 11 to cut the Aces lead to one, 71-70. A pair of Rachel Banham free throws with less than six minutes remaining gave Minnesota its first lead of the game, 76-75. Tied at 79, Las Vegas scored seven straight points, and 12 of the next 14 to put the game away.
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The Aces made 51.4 percent of their shots compared to 45.6 percent for the Lynx.
Las Vegas turned the ball over 15 times, and the Lynx flipped them into 22 points. Minnesota committed 13 miscues which the Aces turned into 13 points.
The Lynx outscored the Aces 12-3 in second chance points
Las Vegas outscored Minnesota 13-9 in fast break points
The Aces 15-5 start is one game back of the best 20-game start in franchise history (2020).
The Aces shot 51.4 percent from the field which is the second highest percentage for the team this season (58.2%, May 6 vs. Phoenix).
Las Vegas’ 25 assists are the most for the team since May 23 when they handed out a season-high tying 27.
Kelsey Plum scored in double figures for the 27th straight game and the 84th time in her career (18 points). She added 10 assists for her 2nd point-assist double-double of the season and the 3rd of her career. Plum also connected on 3 three-pointers, making it 27 straight games in which she has connected on at least one from long distance—the longest active streak in the league.
A’ja Wilson scored in double figures for the 18th time this season and the 126th time in her career (15 points). She added 12 rebounds for her league-leading 12th double-double of the season, and the 49th of her career. That is the second most double-doubles since Wilson came into the league (Sylvia Fowles).
Jackie Young scored in double figures for the 16th time this season and the 57th of her career (10 points).
Chelsea Gray scored in double figures for the 16th time this season and the 153rd time in her career (season-high 21 points). It was also her first 20+ point game of the year, and 30th of her career.
Dearica Hamby scored in double figures for the 15th time this season and the 113th time in her career (16 points).
The Aces remain in Minnesota for a game on Sunday, July 3 at 4 pm PT.
COMMISSIONER’S CUP REPERCUSSIONS & RAMIFICATIONS
The Aces and the Chicago Sky both finished Commissioner’s Cup play with 9-1 records, securing the Western and Eastern Conference spots in the Championship Game respectively. Still at stake is which team will host the Championship Game on July 26.
The first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, but the teams split their two meetings so far on the year.
The second tiebreaker is overall winning percentage by July 7. Las Vegas is 15-5 at the moment, and Chicago is 14-5. The Aces have 2 games remaining on their schedule before the All-Star Break (1 against Minnesota, and 1 against New York. Chicago has 3 game left (Phoenix, Minnesota and Indiana).
The third tiebreaker is cumulative point differential in Cup games. Chicago finished at + 82, while Las Vegas is +102 giving the Aces this tiebreaker should it come down to it..
Las Vegas heads out on an 11-day, 5-game road trip on July 28. If Chicago hosts the Cup Championship, that extends the Aces’ road trip to a 14-day, 6-game monstrosity.